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Last updated: 19 November, 2004 - Published 12:47 GMT
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Judge shot dead in Colombo
Murder scene : judge Ambepitiya's car at the background
Judge Ambepitya was shot when he was alighting from the car
A high court judge and his police bodyguard have been shot dead in Colombo by unidentified gunmen on Friday.

Colombo high court judge Sarath Ambepitiya has been fatally shot in front of his residence at Sarana road in Cinnamon Gardens.

Judge Ambepitya was known for issuing tough sentences including that of 200 years of imprisonment for Tamil Tiger’s leader Velupillai Prabhakaran.

He was coming home after sentencing Sandanam Pillai Teresa to life, who was accused of possessing Heroin.

The judge and his police bodyguard, Inspector of Police Upali of the Ministerial Security Division, were shot by gunmen, who arrived in another car, when they were alighting from the car.

Tough sentences

Murder scene
Magistrate Sarojini Weerawardhana has begun initial investigations

His landmark judgments include sentencing Sri Lanka Army officers for murdering Tamil youths at Bindunuwewa rehabilitation centre and issuing 9-year jail sentence to two Air Force officers for threatening Sunday Times journalist Iqbal Athas.

In October, judge Ambepitiya sentenced a father who sexually abused his own daughters to 36 years rigorous imprisonment.

He was appointed as the chairperson of the three-bench commission to probe Jaffna’s Mirusuvil massacre by the chief justice last week.

Colombo chief magistrate Sarojini Kusala Weerawardhana has begun initial investigations.

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